Louise Fishman at Cheim & Read

Louise Fishman Slippery Slope 2006 oil on linen 88" x 65"

Louise Fishman A Certain Marvelous Thing 2007 oil on linen 38" x 21"

Louise Fishman Telling 2007 oil on linen 70" x 56"

Louise Fishman Bottom 2009 oil on jute 10.25" x 28"

It took me forever to finish this post. This time the problem was with the images, not the poverty of my text. I went to the opening reception of Louise Fishman's latest exhibition at Cheim & Read on Thursday, but I didn't bring my camera, since I expected that the crowd would make it difficult for me to step back to get the shots I'd want. I rushed back on Friday, even earlier in the day than Barry and I usually manage to get out of the apartment. I wanted to be able to see the paintings without having to deal with large numbers of people, I wanted to get shots for a post, and I wanted to broadcast my enthusiasm and publish it sooner than later.

When I arrived home that night I started to upload the images, but I was dissatisfied with, or unsure about, the colors I was seeing. I was unable to reconcile what I was looking at with the claims of my memory and what I saw on the gallery's own site.

I went back on Saturday before visiting some other Chelsea shows, and I stood before the paintings for a few minutes, trying to memorize a few key colors on the few I had selected to capture the day before. It's Monday evening, and I'm only now getting back to the entry I started several days ago. While I've been busy with a lot of other things, I've also been feeling anxious about my self-assigned responsibility of representing Fishman's gorgeous paintings on a computer screen as faithfully as I am able.

I'm regularly frustrated, and humbled, by the difficulty of transferring a worthwhile part of the ordinary/extraordinary experience of being there into the two meager dimensions of a small screen, in spite of all its electronic mojo, but this time I really felt stumped - at least for a while.

In the end I took the bull by the horns and just did it. These pictures are not and could never be exact copies of the art they describe, even if the works themselves were not so beautiful or so physical as Fishman's certainly are. But I think that they are able to suggest why I believe this is one of the best, if not the best, painting show in town.

The gallery has included work Fishman completed over the past three years. Some of it is clearly related to work she had shown earlier in the century [wow, that usage sounds so weird to someone born in the first half of the last one], but there are some astounding pieces here which seem to break ground in ways which might seem a little crazy to anyone who has only been following her recent career. Fishman has never stood still, and neither have her real admirers.

The gallery has included some of the artist's small paintings, I think for the first time, and they are fully as strong as her larger works.

I just noticed that for whatever reason, I didn't manage to get images of any of the more unfamiliar abstractions that I've just referred to. But what the heck, it should make a visit to the show, for those able to get there, even more exciting. I seem also to have confined my choices to a strangely-limited pallet: Blue dominates each of these four pieces, but in the gallery itself there are some extravagant yellows and golds, reds and greens, and at least two subdued, but shimmering rainbows, and most of the nineteen or so paintings are in conversation, or confrontation, with black.

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Published on March 30, 2009 5:46 PM.

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